TWAIL scholars & allies for Palestinian freedom: Solidarity & boycott statement

Image from a poster published by the International Union of Students, 1977

* This statement was published on 29th November 2022 to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. If you would like to add your signature please do so at this link.


We as TWAIL (Third World approaches to international law) scholars and allies affirm our commitment to Palestinian freedom and our solidarity with Palestinians collectively struggling towards liberation. We, the signatories to this statement, unequivocally support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, including the academic boycott as the most direct and relevant expression of our solidarity.

The global south has a long history of engagement with the ‘Question of Palestine’, understanding it as an anti-imperialist and anti-racist struggle. Palestine has been central to the Third World agenda and inextricable from similar liberation movements across Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas. While this engagement has not always been unified, at pivotal moments at the United Nations, in the Non-Aligned Movement and in the Tri-Continental conferences, the peoples of the global south have come together to support the Palestinian struggle for self-determination and protested Israel’s occupation and colonization of Palestinian lands, discrimination against Palestinian citizens, violence against Palestinian people, and the denial of the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.

We have valued the intellectual and political diversity of the TWAIL community, just as we have valued the TWAIL community’s shared commitment to decolonization, racial justice and the right to self-determination. It is in that context that, for us, support for BDS is grounded in our support for academic freedom and the right to self-determination in historic Palestine. We similarly commit to support and pursue the core aims of the Palestine & Praxis statement, including by actively supporting Palestinian scholarship, as well as pressuring our own academic institutions and organizations to respect the Palestinian call for BDS and to remove any complicity or partnership with military, academic and legal institutions involved in entrenching or whitewashing Israel’s policies.

Israeli academic institutions are implicated in Israel’s worst forms of violence, including weapons technologies and military ethics that have facilitated the killing of great numbers of Palestinians. Israeli universities in 1948 Palestine are inaccessible to Palestinian students and scholars in the 1967 occupied territories because of movement restrictions denying them access to their own archives as well as educational opportunities, while Israeli universities inside the occupied territories are an integral part of settler colonial expansion and the displacement and dispossession of Palestinian communities. Israeli authorities have denied students and scholars the ability to travel abroad for conferences; the Israeli military has systematically attacked students on Palestinian university campuses, and most recently, have instituted a policy that makes international study or work at a Palestinian university contingent on military approval. 

BDS is a Palestinian-led movement ‘for freedom, justice and equality’. The academic boycott is a central dimension of BDS and of critical relevance to TWAIL scholars invested in academic freedom for Palestinian students, researchers and faculty. BDS is inspired by the pivotal role that the boycott movement played in third world solidarity with South Africans resisting apartheid. The boycott will not end Israeli apartheid or settler colonialism by itself; however, it interrupts its normalization, including our own complicity with these systems of oppression. BDS is also a way to publicly express support for those struggling against injustice in Palestine – a struggle that is often a lonely and isolating one for Palestinians because collusion between Israeli colonialism, American empire and anti-Palestinian racism has worked to deter open criticism of Israel. 

In that light, in response to the clear and simple request from our Palestinian colleagues for an institutional academic boycott of Israel and in line with the guidelines they have set out, we pledge not to engage in any professional engagement with Israeli academic, research, or  state institutions until Israel ends its regimes of occupation, colonialism and apartheid over Palestinian lands and people, and respects the right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes. This does not apply to individual scholars acting in their individual capacity, as is well-known and made clear in the Palestinian guidelines. For us, our support for BDS is an expression of our ethical commitment as TWAIL scholars. We echo the message from Palestine & Praxis that ‘scholarship without action normalizes the status quo and reinforces Israel’s impunity’, and we call on fellow international law scholars across the world to respect the academic boycott and the BDS movement’s goals for freedom, justice and equality.

Signatories:

M. Sornarajah

Richard Falk

Duncan Kennedy

Vasuki Nesiah

Mazen Masri

Noura Erakat

Ntina Tzouvala

Sujith Xavier

John Reynolds

Usha Natarajan

Vidya Kumar

Robert Knox

Christopher Gevers

Darryl Li

Nimer Sultany

Markus Gunneflo

Mai Taha

Ata Hindi

Gabriel Mantelli

Nicola Perugini

Cecilia Bailliet

Irina Ceric

Grietje Baars

Renisa Mawani

Parvathi Menon

Nada Moumtaz

Helyeh Doutaghi

Tanzil Chowdhury

Claiton Fyock

Claire Mumme

Brendan Ciarán Browne

Mohsen al Attar

Faisal Bhabha

Emily Jones

Lori Allen

Simon Behrman

Vanja Hamzić

Thamil Ananthavinayagan

Bana Abu Zuluf

Ardi Imseis

Nicolás M. Perrone

Adrian Smith

Bill Bowring

Mohammad Shahabuddin

Bill V. Mullen

Rose Parfitt

Terri Ginsberg

Gustavo Gozzi

Laleh Khalili

Tomaso Ferrando

Dorothy Mazaka-Goede

Devanshi Saxena

Fabia Fernandes Carvalho

Sarah Katz-Lavigne

Tor Krever

Cynthia Franklin

Michael Letwin

Brenna Bhandar

Maria Elander

Mostafa Naser

Sara Dehm

Sara Ghebremusse

Julia Dehm

Ayça Çubukçu

Dila Novita

Souheir Edelbi

Rohini Sen

Syeda Re’em Hussain

Mohd Imran

Shraddha Dubey

Abdullah Nasir

Gert Van Hecken

Oishik Sircar

Shaimaa Abdelkarim

Solange Mouthaan

Shahd Hammouri

Edel Hughes

Haris Jamil

Yvette Russell

Sumedha Choudhury

Jay Ramasubramanyam

Nivedita Saksena

Farzan Dar

Vincent Bellinkx

Henry Jones

Aman

Rosie Woodhouse

Anthony Cullen

Tarcísio Diniz Magalhães

Orla Kelleher

Lisa Hajjar

Kathleen Cavanaugh

Fia Hamid-Walker

Jean-Marc Louvin

Sahiba Maqbool

Daniel Segal

Michelle Farrell

Christine Schwöbel-Patel

Michelle Burgis-Kasthala

Lana Tatour

Luigi Daniele

Richard Clements

Amar Bhatia

Laura Betancur-Restrepo

Amaka Vanni

Jeanne M. Woods

Anirudha Choudhury

Ikechi Mgbeoji

Kanad Bagchi

Rudrani Banerjee

Ellen Dichner

Tim Lindgren

David Letwin

John King

Romain Chuffart

Josh Bowsher

Liz Elkind

Raghavi Viswanath

Richard Joyce

Drew Curtis

Priya Anuragini 

Tamsin Paige 

Matthew Zagor

Sean Madden

Stephen Young

Alessandra Spadaro

Marina Velickovic

Goldie Osuri

Santosh Anand 

Hüseyin Dişli

Gobinda Aryal 

Brian Ford

Noam Peleg

James Godfrey

May Bratby

Nicola Soekoe

Tanaya Thakur

Claire Debucqois

Farnush Ghadery

Tariq Modood

Anil Yilmaz

Vasanthi Venkatesh

Maja Janmyr

Mohammad Nasar Nasir

Michael Fakhri

Faizan Ahmad

Alreem Kamal